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Pastry Chef Salary - Can I negotiate???

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone

 

I am graduating from culinary school (Johnson & Wales) with a bachelor in BPA-FSM in a few weeks and have received a pretty great job offer in a Michelin star restaurant in San Francisco, one that is owned by a pretty well known and admired chef.

The only major drawback is the pretty low salary offer: $13 an hour- which is expected to become the minimum wage in SF come July 1st.

 

What I am wondering is, if there is room to negotiate the salary?

 

I don't have alot of industry experience, in fact the only fine dining experience I have is my 3 month internship. the rest is either fast food experience from before school, and of course my education which was pretty vest!

 

I am wondering what is the standard for someone like me in SF, and if any of you who work in SF feel there is room for me to negotiate it to say 14 or 15 dollars an hour?

 

the other issue is that I am in the US on a student visa, while I am able to work this position legally, I won't be able to do to before August, which is 1.5 months past the time we had first discussed in the interview (I was under the impression back then that I will be able to start at June, which I learned was wrong) I will have to bring this up and I fear bringing both a salary raise and the later start date will kill this position offer.

 

 

Thanks to anyone who provides insight!

 

gejufan

post #2 of 10

The first thing to do is let them know of the later start date. That might kill the offer right away. But it might not. Either way you need to let them know now. When you can start is vitally important. 

     Yes, you can negotiate but you should not. If they accept the later start date, take the job. You have only just graduated school. They are not going to give you more money until you have shown that you can show up and work hard and are pleasant to work with. 

I suspect that the restaurant is ready to give you more money but only after you have shown you are worth it. 

One step at a time. 

Once you have some experience, you can negotiate a better pay for the next job. 

post #3 of 10
I have worked in a number of high end hotels in Europe, and the general rule of thumb is that the higher reputation of the place, the lower the salary. Thus, you use your work experience at the Michelin star place as a negotiating tool for the next job.

Basically, employers pay according to work experience.

Hope this helps
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #4 of 10

Remember, the meaning of the word "negotiate" the only time you can negotiate is when you have something to offer. Right now the experience you have is limited. If you want this job, take it and prove yourself and get yourself in a position of being a valued member of the staff. Then you may be in a position to negotiate. Right now just worry about your wages six months to a year from now. Tell the chef that you will be the best cook in the kitchen, you will be a employee that can be called on for any job at any time. Be cocky, but also be right. When everyone else is bitching about everything be the person that does more. Follow your heart, do your best and things will happen.......Good luck......Chef Bill

post #5 of 10

I know SF is expensive, but 13 bucks an hour isn't too bad for someone starting off right out of school. If your school told you you'd make more they likely lied to you. 

 

The tradeoff is that you are going to work for a name place that will open many, many doors for you down the road. So yes, sucking it up pay wise right now stinks, but it can pay dividends down the road when you become the pastry chef of a hotel or restaurant or whatever. The experience you will get at that place could take you far in your career. 

 

I would also point out that your time to negotiate was during the initial interview before you accepted the job. They most likely have several candidates they could hire, so if you start wriggling for more pay now they might just move on. 

 

Good luck! 

post #6 of 10

You took the words right out of my mouth.

post #7 of 10

Since you cannot accept a "paid" position until August, offer to work as an unnpaid stage until then - they will see you are a hard worker who really wants to be in THAT restaurant and to soak up as much as you can.

 

I was a pastry instructor at JWU, and I congratulate you on getting this job.  But, it is true, the higher the stature of the restaurant, generally the lower the pay, and as you've said, the only experience you've got is your 3 month externship, so honestly, it is a miracle you were offered this position in the first place. I would accept the job at the offered wage of $13/hr (which is a damned good starting salary for no experience, SF or not), and prove yourself.  

 

Chef Bill gave you priceless advice - make yourself indispensable in the kitchen.  Arrive early, stay late, offer to do whatever job no one else wants to do, regardless of the station. Show them that you are worth the $13/hr they are paying you - and prove to them you are worth more than that.

post #8 of 10

2nd. @ChefBillyB.  To negotiate is basically to bargain. One side puts a value on their product or offering, the other side puts a value on their product or service, if there is an obvious imbalance, the bargaining begins. The only way to productively negotiate is due diligence on both sides in regards to their evaluation.

 This are just my thoughts:  $ would not be on the top of my list. I would use it as a tool to research what my quality of life would be if living on the $'s offered. Is it difficult to find housing at that pay. What will it cost me to travel back and forth.

  Money really should be on the bottom of your list. Myself, my main concern would be to research everything you will or won't be able have with the money offered.

  I think you will be surprised!  Unless you have already secured housing and trans, that's different.

SF is a unique place. I'm quite sure you can't  live anywhere close to the city. When moving away, consider trans. If you own a vehicle, it's very costly to park. If you're on foot, it's quite hard to find housing close to mass transportation. A lot of SF commute in and out of the city daily. Mass trans. areas are quite populated miles outside the city. I'm not so sure that if you are on your own without help, that money offer will see you through.

POINT: I'm not trying to be negative at all, trust me. I took the time to post just to provide info. If due diligence results in an obvious imbalance of value, you will at least have tools if you choose to bargain/negotiate. Personally, I think you're going to find an imbalance. Doesn't have to do with your experience or training. I'm pretty sure they know what they are getting. It's simply survival. If you find it impossible to survive on that offer, then bargain. I don't think they want to go through the hiring process and everything involved to have someone crash and burn. That's not beneficial to either party. Get on the horn. Contact every entry level cook you can identify. If there is HR on other property of a person in charge of hiring, give em a shout. If they employee cooks like you, they'll hook you up. Might take 12 roommates:lol:

Best of luck to you,

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #9 of 10
Good luck kid.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

 

My apologies everyone for such a late respond to all your wonderful advice!. life has a way of knocking you down when you least expect it.- long story short: I was able to get a start date of August but was after graduation was informed by my advisor they will not sign my work permit paperwork, it took awhile but we fixed it and I am now waiting to know if the US gov. has approved my request; however, this meant I had to inform the restaurant I will not be able to start in august, probably not before Nov. she said to keep them updated. so I am hoping this entire mess has not cost me this job :-)

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Someday View Post
 

I know SF is expensive, but 13 bucks an hour isn't too bad for someone starting off right out of school. If your school told you you'd make more they likely lied to you. 

 

The tradeoff is that you are going to work for a name place that will open many, many doors for you down the road. So yes, sucking it up pay wise right now stinks, but it can pay dividends down the road when you become the pastry chef of a hotel or restaurant or whatever. The experience you will get at that place could take you far in your career. 

 

I would also point out that your time to negotiate was during the initial interview before you accepted the job. They most likely have several candidates they could hire, so if you start wriggling for more pay now they might just move on. 

 

Good luck! 

 

Hey Someday, thanks for the advice, you are right! which is why I asked my question, since I wondered if there was even a point of bringing it up.
I can also assure you no one at my school ever promised i'd be making more than minimum wage, and if they did: i'm far older and wiser about the ways of jobs than my fellow 22 grads, to know that is not true for someone of my experience.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PastryDiva View Post
 

Since you cannot accept a "paid" position until August, offer to work as an unnpaid stage until then - they will see you are a hard worker who really wants to be in THAT restaurant and to soak up as much as you can.

 

I was a pastry instructor at JWU, and I congratulate you on getting this job.  But, it is true, the higher the stature of the restaurant, generally the lower the pay, and as you've said, the only experience you've got is your 3 month externship, so honestly, it is a miracle you were offered this position in the first place. I would accept the job at the offered wage of $13/hr (which is a damned good starting salary for no experience, SF or not), and prove yourself.  

 

Chef Bill gave you priceless advice - make yourself indispensable in the kitchen.  Arrive early, stay late, offer to do whatever job no one else wants to do, regardless of the station. Show them that you are worth the $13/hr they are paying you - and prove to them you are worth more than that.

Hey PastryDiva

 

Thank you for the comment!

Sadly I can't legally do that.. i can volunteer for like a shelter and make food for them, but doing an unpaid stage is, to my knowledge, illegal while I am waiting for my work permit. Also I don't live in SF so it be financially impossible to do it.

I would love to know when you worked for JWU? I arrived at the school in 2011, so I don't know if it is after you left or not.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by panini View Post
 

2nd. @ChefBillyB.  To negotiate is basically to bargain. One side puts a value on their product or offering, the other side puts a value on their product or service, if there is an obvious imbalance, the bargaining begins. The only way to productively negotiate is due diligence on both sides in regards to their evaluation.

 This are just my thoughts:  $ would not be on the top of my list. I would use it as a tool to research what my quality of life would be if living on the $'s offered. Is it difficult to find housing at that pay. What will it cost me to travel back and forth.

  Money really should be on the bottom of your list. Myself, my main concern would be to research everything you will or won't be able have with the money offered.

  I think you will be surprised!  Unless you have already secured housing and trans, that's different.

SF is a unique place. I'm quite sure you can't  live anywhere close to the city. When moving away, consider trans. If you own a vehicle, it's very costly to park. If you're on foot, it's quite hard to find housing close to mass transportation. A lot of SF commute in and out of the city daily. Mass trans. areas are quite populated miles outside the city. I'm not so sure that if you are on your own without help, that money offer will see you through.

POINT: I'm not trying to be negative at all, trust me. I took the time to post just to provide info. If due diligence results in an obvious imbalance of value, you will at least have tools if you choose to bargain/negotiate. Personally, I think you're going to find an imbalance. Doesn't have to do with your experience or training. I'm pretty sure they know what they are getting. It's simply survival. If you find it impossible to survive on that offer, then bargain. I don't think they want to go through the hiring process and everything involved to have someone crash and burn. That's not beneficial to either party. Get on the horn. Contact every entry level cook you can identify. If there is HR on other property of a person in charge of hiring, give em a shout. If they employee cooks like you, they'll hook you up. Might take 12 roommates:lol:

Best of luck to you,

 

Hey Panini

 

Thanks for the advice! luckily I have outside income from a condo my grandma left me back in my home country. it is not alot but it's an extra cool $900 a month so it allows me for a bit more room to breath, but not by much. really the biggest issue with moving to SF will be finding an apartment and an apartment-mate who love cats enough that s/he are cool living with 5 cats (and no, I don't plan on giving any of them up). 12 roommates is a bit too much :-P I am a 30 year old woman.. i've lived alone for the past 4 years the idea of one roommate is killing me, but for a year I am willing to let that one go.
As for living area, I assumed with that amount of money, even with my second income, living outside of SF is a must.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by IceMan View Post

Good luck kid.

 

Hey IceMan

Thanks you! (though i'm a bit too old to be a kid :-)- but I get it, I refer to many of my classmates as kid sometimes too and we only have like 5 to 8 years age difference.

 

 

Again Thank you so much!! everyone!
I promise to update this post when I'll have information about the work permit and job. I am hoping to be approved and start working before Thanksgiving at the latest.

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